Saturday, July 05, 2008

West Texas trains and monikers

A few photos from the BNSF Lampasas Subdivision on June 23. This line sure has changed since those days in the late '80s when I used to drive up from San Angelo to spend the day at Coleman or Sweetwater. Back then, seeing an empty coal train or an orange locomotive for a merged BNSF Railway would have been inconceivable. Well, today's trains may look different but they still put on a good show...
Westbound double stacks approaching Coleman...

Coal empties at San Angelo Jct.

Coal empties at Coleman.

Freight car monikers, re-visited
It's a rare day along the tracks that I don't spend at least a few minutes examining the sides of rail cars looking for hand-drawn pictures, doodles, signatures, etc -- the modern-day freight car moniker. More discrete than the increasingly abundant plague of aerosol graffiti, the tradition of chalking sketches and scrawls on the sides of freight cars dates back through several generations of railroad workers and hoboes.
Constant exposure to the elements may cause them to fade, but if you look closely, you can still find them.
JM - Santa Fe, NM (dated 1982!)
Many are elaborately drawn, but I'm just as interested in the ones that consist of only a name or a rudimentary sketch -- those which by their very nature, lend themselves to rapid and widespread application. Seeing the same ones repeatedly in different locations -- whether in Texas or California or Montana -- is like seeing a familiar face in a crowd of strangers.

Here are a few that I've been noticing for years, along with a couple of newcomers to the scene.

Not Herby, but Poncho...

"Ewok" (I think it looks more like a Tuscan Raider)

No, it's completely baked...

One from south of the border

John Easley

np: They Might Be Giants - "I hope that I get old before I die"

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Blogger Jim Satterwhite said...


I too have devised a moniket that I use when inspecting freight cars for clients. Three cars were marked in Amarillo (the first one in line, number 27 and the last one in line) with a stylized "boxcar" speeding by. One end of the car has "Jim" on the aft end while Amaillo and June 19th were placed under the wheels.

Jim Satterwhite

5:39 PM  

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